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What are some storage monitoring tools under Windows Server 2012 R2?

For Windows administrators who need ample warning to keep storage problems at bay, there are many choices available.

As most Windows administrators know, there is no single way to monitor storage or disk faults. There are countless management tools to choose from, and policies and procedures can vary between businesses. Also, the IT expertise available to monitor storage may be small compared to the many other technical demands of a data center. But Windows Server 2012 R2 organizations can utilize some common storage monitoring tools and practices, such as Storage Spaces.

First, update the tools for Storage Spaces under Windows Server 2012 R2. As an example, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) can be updated to support Storage Spaces using a downloadable management pack. This management pack allows SCOM to watch storage enclosures, storage pools and capacity, and track storage spaces, Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) file shares, and disk failures. SCOM can also pass this monitoring data to other tools, such as Operations Manager. Other Windows Server 2012 R2 patches -- such as hotfix 2913766 -- add support for JBOD enclosure awareness using the storage management API.

Second, consider adding monitoring tools from the storage array or enclosure vendor. Vendors can provide granular tools or SCOM management packs designed to offer details about specific storage subsystems, including status, performance, disk installation and conditions. Adding new tools to the environment may not be a preferred strategy, but point solutions can provide handy diagnostics for niche storage systems, and management packs can tackle detailed monitoring through existing SCOM deployments.

Third, try diagnostic PowerShell scripts. For example, scripts such as Test-StorageHealth.ps1 from the Microsoft Script Center can check failover clusters, CSVs, Server Message Block shares, Storage Spaces and data deduplication operation. The script can report these details, collect logs and reports from storage cluster nodes, and compile everything into a single compressed file for analysis.

Remember that one size does not fit all. These options are not exclusive and can be used together in any combination needed to provide an adequate picture of storage health.

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